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What Follows NCLB?

While I have some "free" time over break, I wanted to reflect on some articles I have been collecting with Simply Box (a great website for organizing information found on the web).  On such article is Educator's Don't Want Law Left Behind by Liz Brown   http://tinyurl.com/6c55sv.  The focus of the article is what will the Obama administration do with NCLB.  We cannot eliminate testing because it does demonstrate serious problems with many of our schools.  However, great schools are hurt by the law because they are forced to weaken their standards to make the numbers look pretty for their school districts.

What is needed is a concept that has been talked about by David Brewer of the Los Angeles Unified School District, but never fully implemented.  That concept is earned autonomy.  If schools receive a certain score on standardized tests, they should be freed from the bonds of periodic assessments and district imposed curriculum. 

Does that end the accountability for these schools?  It does not need to.  Those schools could become lab schools where teachers and administrators from failing schools can visit to understand what works.  The time and money wasted with periodic assessments at great schools could be used to pay successful teachers to create learning communities where they can share ideas with others around the country and propel their schools to even greater heights.  Why in the name of better teaching do we dumb down the curriculum? 

Teachers unions and technology advocacy groups need to push legislators and school boards to give power to schools that are successful.  School boards and standardized curriculum are not going to help failing schools.  Teachers and administrators at successful schools are the key to helping failing schools make a turn around.

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